2 Apr 2009

Covert militia being used in fight against OPM, says West Papua Coalition

7:51 pm on 2 April 2009

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says Indonesian-backed militia are playing an increasing role in the fight by security forces to attack the Free West Papua Movement, or OPM, in highlands areas.

Reports from Indonesia's Papua region that more than 30 soldiers have been killed in skirmishes with separatists in the Puncak Jaya regency in the last month, have attributed the deaths to OPM fighters.

However, a spokesperson for the Coalition, Paula Makabori, says there's no guarantee that the OPM, which is one of the coalition members, is responsible for all the deaths.

She says various militia groups are being used to conduct covert operations in the OPM stronghold area:

"And then they now try to put those militias in the highlands areas - in Puncak Jaya and also in Wamana. We got the information from the locals, especially from the Customary Councils, that these groups are trying to reach the highlands. And then these groups are used by the Indonesian military or security forces as the defenders."

Paula Makabori